David Lauderdale

Note to self: If George H.W. Bush can write notes of encouragement and thanks, so can you

George H.W. Bush dead at 94

Former US President George H.W. Bush passed away at age 94 in Houston, TX.
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Former US President George H.W. Bush passed away at age 94 in Houston, TX.

This is a note to self:

Write more notes.

Actually, I should say: Write notes, any notes, please.

Write to your mother, for crying out loud.

It could make the world a kinder, gentler place, when that’s precisely what we need. Exclamation point.

That’s what stands out to me as the world stops this week to say goodbye to President George H.W. Bush. The 41st president of the United States of America, who died Nov. 30, was a relentless note-writer and those notes revealed character.

Who knew that simply being a good and decent person could make one stand out as remarkable?

And that’s the point. Writing simple notes — short notes — to thank or compliment or encourage someone could make us good and decent people again.

I don’t write notes because I’m too busy. I don’t write notes because I’ve spent all day writing and I don’t have anything left to say.

But George H.W. Bush was a busy guy and he wrote notes every day. He wrote by hand so many notes that a bunch of them were compiled into a memoir, “All The Best.”

And on a lot of his days, he would have sifted through the whole world’s problems and all the egomaniacs in Washington, and could easily have had nothing left to say.

Besides, what good would notes do from a syntax-challenged man born with a silver foot in his mouth, as Texas governor Ann Richards said of him?

Now we know that the notes did a lot of good.

They are treasures, especially the one he left in the Oval Office for his successor, Bill Clinton, who had just dealt Bush his bitterest professional disappointment. But because we have the note, we know how to act in a time like that.

“You will be our president when you read this note,” Bush closes it, underling “our.”

“I wish you well. I wish your family well.

“Your success now is our country’s success. I am rooting hard for you.

“Good luck,


Facebook, email and Twitter now help us touch each other with notes.

But it’s not the same.

I used to get handwritten notes from Mark Sanford, our governor and then congressman. I couldn’t read a word he said, but it was the thought that counted.

I used to get wonderful notes from the late Tim Doughtie of Hilton Head Island. He typed out short bursts of encouragement. I thought it was only me, but when he passed away it seemed that everyone got notes like that from Tim.

So my note to self is this: Get some note cards. Get them small, so you don’t have to say much. And write.